Return to listing

5 Important Life Skills You Need In Adulthood

To thrive in any area of your life, you’ll need basic life skills that will help you navigate your independence as an adult.

July 12 2022 - 5 min read

looked after child learning life skills

Top 5 Life Skills You Need To Master

Whether that’s communicating well with peers, avoiding conflict with someone you disagree with or learning to juggle everyday tasks at work or college – you’ll need to master these important life skills.

1) Conflict Resolution

There will be times when you don’t agree with someone – maybe a friend, someone at school or work, your youth worker/carer, someone you live with, or a partner. Disagreements are common, especially as we all have differences of opinion and personality types, but the key to maintaining healthy relationships is how you can resolve conflicts when they arise.

Of course you shouldn’t have to accept abusive behaviour, and in these instances you do need to take appropriate action, but in many less dramatic, everyday situations you will come into conflict with people who have different views about what should be done.

Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree, and that means accepting someone else’s point of view even when it conflicts with you own. The key is not treating someone poorly or opposing your own viewpoints on someone else.

Things you can do

  • Give your views or opinions calmly, without being rude, abusive or violent.
  • Listen to what the other person has to say and try to see their point of view.
  • Try and come up with a solution that is a compromise for both of you, so there is give and take on both sides.

2) Communication

How we communicate with other people is very important. Being able to express ourselves well and understand communication helps with all the relationships we have with other people. Verbal communication – speaking – is one way that people communicate, but what we wear or how we sit can be equally important. Even when speaking we can communicate in different ways, by how loud we speak, or the tone of voice we use.

Think about how you communicate. Is your body language positive or negative? What does it say about how you feel about yourself? Talk to your worker for suggestions on improving your communication.

3) Time Management 

Time management is a crucial skill to learn. Whether it’s keeping on track with your daily work schedule, or ensuring you are making time to meet friends and make it to appointments, you need to ensure you are effectively managing your time so you can keep ensure you don’t miss deadlines or let everyone down.

Here are some tips for staying on top of things:

  • Write a to do list – all the things you need to do on a daily and weekly basis – and cross off each item as you do it. You can write them in a diary or in a notebook
  • Write all appointments in a diary
  • Sometimes, we avoid doing something important, because it is dull or unpleasant, and instead waste time doing something less important to avoid it. You can change this habit, once you become aware of it. Getting the dull things out of the way first means you can relax and really enjoy your free time.
  • To effectively manage your time, you need to know where you’re wasting time. Keep a record of what you get up to for a few days. This will show you how you can make more efficient use of your time. Remember, the average time spent watching TV in the UK is 148 minutes a day – that’s 38 days a year!

4) Problem Solving

You will come across all sorts of problems, big and small, and how you react to them is the key to success. Adapting to a new workplace, falling behind on college work or not being able to make new friends can seem frustrating, but there are lots of problems that you have already experienced and have solved, so you can do it!

The first thing is to recognise when you have a problem. Then, you need to think about how you will solve it. Talking to someone about a problem can be useful. Once you have worked out all the things that can be done to deal with the problem, you will need to decide which things you are going to do, and then all that will be left is for you to do them!

When you have started working on a problem, it may be that what you decided to do isn’t working. If that happens it’s time to look at all the possible choices again and try another approach.

How to deal with problems:

  • Work out what the problem is
  • Talk to someone about the problem
  • Think about the things that you could do to solve the problem
  • Decide which things you are going to do
  • Do whatever you decided
  • See if it worked and the problem is solved
  • Try something else If the problem is still there

5) Decision Making

Decision making is an essential life skill.

You might have to make a decision about whether to go to University, sign up for an apprenticeship or go to straight into full time employment, or maybe you’ll have to choose between moving into supportive lodgings placement, a foyer or a supported housing project. You may have lots of different options, or you may have to make a choice between just two.

Committing to a decision can be tough, especially if it involves something new or a big change, like moving to a different area. Getting as much information as you can, and talking through all your options with someone can help you make decisions. One way to make a decision would be to list your options, think of all the positive and negative things about each option, and then decide on the option that has the most positives. Use the worksheet to help you make a decision.

How to help with decision making:

  • Start making a list of all the pros and cons of each decision
  • Try also think about the long term effects one decision might have
  • Get feedback from those you trust

Supporting Your Next Steps

Download our Skills for Life Guide which contains useful resources along with allowing you to track your progress and tick off skills learnt, milestones reached and targets to achieve - all in one handy checklist.

Download Now >>